James Ririnui continues to impress after he won the NZ Primary School Championships title at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth, last weekend.

The St Mary’s School Year 6 pupil is just 11 but he won gold in the under-13 boys’ division after a clean sweep in winning two heats, the quarterfinal, semifinal and final.

Young James battled tough weather conditions and 3- to 4-foot swells to produce a remarkably consistent performance.

“It was pretty big. I don’t really mind big surf, I quite like it,” said James. “It is probably my best win. I was pretty stoked, excited and happy.”

Surfing and rugby are James’ two main sporting passions.

He began surfing aged 8 and already has an impressive list of achievements to his name.

This winter he captained his Te Puna under-11 team to the Western Bay 15-a-side and 7-a-side titles, as well as leading the Ellis Shield under-11 boys’ rep team to the Bay of Plenty title.

James was a key player in the St Mary’s over-40kg 7-a-side team that took out the Western Bay title. His older brother Lee, 14, is also a top-class surfer, ranked second in New Zealand at under-14 level.

Their father Barry Ririnui, who represented the Bay of Plenty Steamers and NZ Secondary Schools as a top-quality midfield back, says the sibling rivalry spurs both boys on.

“Lee gives James inspiration, companionship and good, old-fashioned sibling rivalry out in the water,” he said.

“Being involved with a great family-based group of surfing friends has added to James’ enjoyment and passion for the sport of surfing.”